OMJ! I just got back from a concert! (Or at least I had ‘just’ when I started writing this blog a week ago…) A real, live, in the flesh, full-on concert, with lights and venue and big energy!
My first big concert in two years, thanks a lot, COVID!!! And isn’t it rather apropos that my very last concert before the pandemic was by the same band (Louden Swain), in the same city (Las Vegas), in the same March weekend (March 5-8, 2020 and March 3-6, 2022), for the same Supernatural Convention, as tonight’s show.
That last concert and convention took place right on the cusp of the beginning of this pandemic in North America. We were trepidatious, treading carefully into the unknown , naive and assuming it wouldn’t last long. Masks were not a thing then, but hand sanitizers and no touch rules bound the convention for the first time.
That convention wasn’t just the last concert for me, it was the last plane ride, last trip out of my province, and last in person mass event thing I did for those last two years. I got off the plane at home on March 9, 2020 and the world locked down mere days later. No more travel, no more conventions, no more live music (GASP!).
I mean, there was the super intimate Edmonton Folk Fest mini neighbourhood performance I attended 16 months later, which involved an audience of about 20-30 sitting on the street, spaced apart in pods, watching the musicians perform on a flatbed truck for a stage. It was an ingenious way to bring live music to the people during the few restrictions of that time. It felt like a break from the COVID world, a much needed but momentary lifting of a communal weight off our shoulders between phases. But not yet a full-fledged concert, more an interlude to something bigger, if you will.
Coming to this Louden Swain concert, and the Supernatural Convention it belonged to, in the same city, almost to the exact date, as the last one, felt like the other bookend to the pandemic.
Being in spaces again with about a thousand people, sharing this love of a tv show and its actors and musicians in person, shed that two year old skin of lockdowns, anxiety, unknowns, obsession with numbers of cases, deaths, and hospital beds and brought a renewal of life – a phoenix bursting through its pandemic ashes.
This feeling of rebirth was tangible throughout the convention. The crowd was energetic and appreciative. The actors, lively, excited to be there with us and with their cast-mate friends, many of whom, they stated over and over, they hadn’t seen in person in over those two years.
This sense of rejoicing, reunion, renewal, was no more evident than in Timothy Omundson’s two panels and the audience’s super warm, emotional standing ovations – leaving nary a dry eye in the stands nor on the stage – both times he walked onto the stage.
Tim is the epitome of the phoenix who rose with such grace and strength from a stroke in 2017. He was at the Vegas convention in 2020 as well. Seeing him again two years later, much improved in health and surrounded by the clear love and deep friendship of Richard Speight, Jr. and Rob Benedict, and by the love from the fans, it was… well it was the sum of these conventions – we all laughed, cried, watched in fondness, gave and bathed in support and kindness during his panels. The beautiful intensity and gamut of emotions did not falter throughout the rest of the four-day weekend.
Kim Rhodes’ and Briana Buckmaster’s joint panels and the phenomenal Ladies’ panels (this time with Kim, Briana, Ruth Connell, Samantha, and Felicia Day) never cease to inspire.
I’ve said it before, these conventions are part motivational speaker series, and these ladies are exactly why I say that. They exude life- intelligence and experience. They, like all of us, have moments of doubt, anxiety, and dwelling in the darkness, but they come with such openness to share their stories with humour, reflection, and kindness.
As with the other two Supernatural conventions I’ve attended, it was easy to find themes that connected the panels. This one certainly had the thread of renewal – of living through these pandemic years and rising from the ashes, but there was also many conversations this weekend about diversity and representation in tv and film. Kim and Briana discussed how it isn’t just for the benefit of those from currently poorly represented groups. Seeing diverse perspectives and experiences benefits us all, it opens up our minds and hearts to the experiences of others.
As Misha Collins explained when talking about his new show Roadfood, he went in thinking he would find we, as humans, are all similar, but what he found was the opposite – we are so very different. We come from different cultures, beliefs, ways of being, etc., and there is beauty in that, and much to learn from each other.
Shoshanna Stern shared her experience of encountering barriers as a deaf person and noted that the barriers she faces as a deaf person are usually not due to her inability to hear but instead in non-deaf people telling her her lived experience as a deaf person is not the way it is for deaf people.
This convention was the first for me with Shoshanna and with Tahmoh Penikett as guests, two of my favourite actors from the show (I mean, kinda tied for second place with everyone else on the show who isn’t Misha 🙂 … but shhh, I’m extremely biased and I know it). Watching these two on stage, listening to their stories for the first time was a highlight.
The thing about these conventions is, for me anyways, I can’t help but deepen my fondness and appreciation for the actors after watching their panels. Everyone I have seen at a Supernatural convention becomes a favourite in the show, if they weren’t already. It’s symbiotic.
The sharing of life experiences/stories is a long tradition of creating bonds and strengthening relationships. Whether familial, community, nation to nation, whatever – this practice humanizes us to and with each other, and I can’t help but connect during conventions, even if just from my introverted chair, far away from the stage.
And then there is the humour. The moments you just can’t plan for. This cast is just so charming and funny, especially when you put them together…
We laughed until we cried at Gabriel Tigerman’s interview of Jake Abel’s cold nipples (voiced by Samantha Smith) (the panel room was freezing cold, there were repercussions of that…)
And at the idea of David Haydn-Jones watching worm orgies… (don’t ask… just find the video on YouTube here…)
Tim busting a gut when a fan mentioned as part of her question that she and her friends refer to Cain as ‘Murder Daddy.’
Then the was the moment when Jensen and a fan were discussing the reboot of some sci-fi tv show they both watched in their youth. Jared not catching on to which one they were talking about finally huffed, “I can’t believe I didn’t know about the re-boot!”
“Too soon?!?!” he asked in reaction to the very loud groans from the audience (the comment was in reference to his Twitter post about being gutted at only hearing about Jensen’s Supernatural prequel plans on social media at the same time as everyone else…. it was pretty funny in his dry humour sort of way :P)
And then there was Misha, who shared the story of staying at Rich’s house while Rich and his family were away; and sleeping naked in Rich’s bed… and walking around naked before realizing there was a nest camera at waist height, right there….
And Misha, who raised $5000 usd for organizations helping in Ukraine in mere minutes during his panel.
(He might be my favourite… maybe by just a little bit…)
And then there was the always super cool Friday night Karaoke party where fans get to sing Karaoke with Louden Swain and various cast members.
And then the Saturday Night Special concert with Louden Swain. The concert I began this post with.
This concert that held magic, transforming the world from two years of pandemic into pure joy, passion, bright lights, a shared humanity, humanness. This concert, my first since COVID, my rebirth, the reclaiming of my identity.
That’s not to say the pandemic wasn’t still present throughout the concert and convention – Creation, the company that runs this convention set up a lot of ground rules to ensure everyone’s safety as much as possible, fans, guests, and their staff.
Regardless of Las Vegas’s more relaxed pandemic regulations, like for flying on planes, attendees had to show a negative covid test upon registering in person and masks were required at all times in the convention area unless eating, drinking, or taking oral medicine, or unless the actor was ok with you removing it for photo ops.
This new world order of learning to function around COVID-19 was part of that sense of renewal for me at this convention. Pre-COVID, my personal identity was deeply rooted in travelling and live events – conventions, concerts, plays, etc. COVID forcibly changed that. Travelling was only to be taken if essential, concerts etc. were cancelled. Sure, the introvert in me thrived in the quiet for the longest while, but I still yearned to fly, and the live music withdrawals were fierce.
When the restrictions relaxed again and travel to the USA looked possible, I scrambled for this ticket, the chance to finally, two years later, reclaim my identity, my rebirth. As I’ve said before – I am, because I travel. I have equated concerts to breathing.
So I got on the plane. And the other plane. I went to the crowded casino hotel. I sat surrounded by a thousand people who have all tested negative recently and shared my love for these crazy wonderful actors.
And I went to a concert.
We danced, we bounced, we sang. We rose from the ashes of this pandemic stronger and more resilient. Ready to take on this new world with all we’ve learned!
So thank you, Supernatural Family. Thank you Louden Swain, this weekend was special in so many ways, but mostly, for making me feel like me again, the girl who goes to concerts, the girl who travels (to go to concerts).
For more photos, check out my Photo Gallery 2022.